Chevron to replace pipes, union workers to discuss Cal/OSHA

The section of pipe damaged during the Aug. 6 fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery (Photo courtesy of: US. Chemical Safety Board).

The section of pipe damaged during the Aug. 6 fire at Chevron's Richmond refinery (Photo courtesy of: US. Chemical Safety Board).

Chevron will replace all piping in the damaged sections of the Richmond refinery with chrome alloy, the company said in a letter Wednesday to the city of Richmond and the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. The move comes six weeks after Chevron announced that it believed the Aug. 6 fire may have occurred because of thinning and corrosion in a piping component that may have had low silicon content.

“Before the restart of the crude unit, Chevron will complete its investigation and communicate its findings and actions,” wrote Nigel Hearne, the refinery’s general manager, in the letter. “We are optimistic we can complete our planned repairs and be in a position to restart the crude unit by first quarter of 2013.”

Meanwhile, members of the United Public Workers announced that they will hold an event Saturday to pose the question, “How many more explosions and fires do we have to put up with?” The meeting will take place at Richmond’s main public library. The UPW says the event will look at how working people and the community can defend their health, safety and environment, particularly after what the union views as an inadequate response to the fire by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

“Who is running Cal-OSHA and why are the workers’ voices being silenced?” UPW asked in a press release, stating that refinery workers who are members of its union “have been warning that there are serious health and safety problems in reports that Cal-OSHA kept secret.”

The meeting will feature a number of industrial and labor speakers and begins at 2 p.m. in the Richmond Main Public Library Madeline Whittlesey Community Room.


  1. Joshua Genser

    Perhaps some perspective on United Public Workers would have been in order in the article. The organization is actually called United Public Workers for Action, and it’s not a union, it’s a committee that doesn’t even identify its members on its website. For all we know it’s just a handful of people. It’s not very good journalism to give prominent mention to a group whose members and bona fides are unknown, and especially to communicate their criticisms of Cal-OSHA without any checking to see if they have any validity and giving Cal_OSHA an opportunity to respond.

    • Josh makes some good points.

      When writing an article a reporter needs to consider the sources.

      When you go to the UPWA web site and click on their “DEMANDS” tab, some of what they’re demanding would have made Lenin, Stalin and Trotsky shudder.

      Who are these people who supposedly represent the public workers of this state and what exactly are they trying to accomplish?

      Much has been said and written about Chevron’s plans to replace the carbon steel pipes with chrome molly pipes suggesting that this isn’t nearly good enough. While some of the voices we’re hearing may have some expertise in the petrochemical business, most do not and when they speak, for the most part they come across as ill informed persons who are trying to stir the masses. The main reason that they’re not called out for their ineptitude is that those that they’re speaking to are even less informed and their passions and hatred for Chevron prevents them from using their brains, trying to educate themselves and making an informed analysis of what’s going on.

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